How to structure your Crisis Management Team (CMT), and what you should consider
You’ve just seen a competitor thrown into crisis, or maybe you’ve only barely weathered your own. Either way, now you’re convinced, more than ever, that you need a full-fledged crisis management function at your own business. It’s finally time to get started. The only question remains, who serves on the crisis management team? We won’t sugarcoat it. It’s a difficult question, especially since crisis planning is in effect preparing for the inevitability that things will go wrong at your business. Based on that premise, it’s tempting to ask, who would not serve on your team?
It will be a tough choice, but here’s some pointers on tackling how to put together a crisis management team.
Concentrate on what your crisis management team will do
First things first, give yourself a little scaffolding. Before selecting team members, outline what the focus of that team will be. Per the stages of crisis, common crisis management team duties include the following:
- Preparing and planning for crisis
- Detecting crisis
- Responding to crisis
- Recovering from crisis
Within those broad duties, you can pull out a few, more specific tasks, i.e. managing employees, communicating important information with stakeholders, analyzing possible triggers and potential damages. Building a strong crisis management team will mean filling the slots with the people at your firm whom you think are the best suited to perform those crucial tasks.
When it comes specifically to departmental representation, you’re probably looking for senior managers (and above) from your firm’s most important business units: Finance, HR, Operations, IT, Risk, Communications, Legal, etc. You’ll often find heads of those departments on crisis management teams, but that’s not always the case (or necessary). Ultimately, you’re looking for someone from that business unit who has the broadest understanding of what’s going on in that department.
Importance of C-Suite and Board representation on your CMT
In addition to department heads, most successful crisis management teams have C-suite (and even board) representation. Not only that, they also have someone in a media advising capacity, whether an internal communications representative or a third-party consultant.
Finally, the crisis management effort really does benefit when the entire staff is onboard, whether on the lookout for potential crisis or helping in response and recovery. When you’ve come up with a crisis management plan, make sure the whole organization is prepared, that every person knows their role. Specific teams will naturally take the lead in planning for certain types of disturbances. And, of course, the whole function (including trainings) will be closely overseen by the crisis management team.
One last word: avoid bloating your core team. When crisis does strike, large, unwieldy teams often hinder efficient decision making.
To learn how to prepare yourself for crisis, download our free Guide to Getting Started with Crisis Management Planning:
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